Peggy and Elizabeth riding the wheel chair bike downtown Shaunavon after doing some shopping.Jacob Miller, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

By Jacob Miller, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Published  Oct 05, 2021

A new wheelchair bike that was acquired for the long term care centre in Shaunavon last year, continues to offer positive lifestyle benefits to its users.

The bike, which made its maiden voyage in late April of 2020, is being used to take residents of the facility out for a ride through community streets for some much needed fresh air and sunshine.

“It’s awesome, we have a lot of fun with it,” offered Peggy who was chauffeuring her mother Elizabeth, a resident at the long term care centre, on the bike through the streets of the community last week.  

Peggy and Elizabeth, who are both cycling and outdoor enthusiasts, have enjoyed a number of excursions with the wheelchair bike this year while taking advantage of the extended balmy weather this fall.

Peggy had to complete a training course before being permitted to take her mom on the bike.

“Training is available and required to use the bike,” explained long term care worker Pamela Bahnuick. “Once trained, long term care resident’s friends, family and our volunteers can use the bike to take them for a ride. Weather is a factor that influences riding comfort and safety for our residents.”

“The beautiful September weather has allowed one resident’s daughter to enjoy many rides with her mom,” she added with a smile.

Acquiring the bike was a process that took a couple of years. 

The recreation therapy team based out of Swift Current saw the need for the bike as a tool to help alleviate depression. 

The back part of the bike is modeled after a normal bicycle with a back wheel, pedals, seat, handlebars and brakes. The bike also has a pedal assist component with an electric motor and battery pack.

The front part features a wheelchair, where the residents are belted into a bucket seat. The smaller front wheels are lifted off the ground when the wheelchair is connected to the bike.

Behnuick says that training is available by appointment at the long term care centre. 

Local resident Blair Gehl has helped keep the cyclists safer by supplying and installing a safety flag and mirror on the bike.

This item is reprinted with permission from The Shaunavon Standard.

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